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Question
I had a crown on second molar #15 after an abscess resulting in a root canal for about 4 years and the last time the crown came off (4X)there was a decent amount of decay in the underlying tooth and after dentist recommended it..  I had an extraction on 10/1.  It was not a simple extraction... it involved hammer and mallot and it coming out in pieces (I have a history of nocturnal bruxism and my molars were worn)  The bleeding stopped in about 3 hrs and there was some minor oozing for less than 24hr.  I ate soft foods and refrained from smoking as I don't smoke.  I had no alcohol for 24hrs plus.  On the 4th I began to notice food particles being stuck in the socket... on the 5th the pain started...  I went in to dentist on the 7th and had packing placed.  I was also given RX for APAP #3 as I am not supposed to have ibuprofen due to unrelated surgery on 10/16.  I was also prescribed peridex QID and Amoxicillin 875mg BID.  The pain is now manageable without meds but I am worried about having food still stuck in the socket 2 weeks later.  I have pulmonary AVMS and am at risk of infection from dental procedures (I take 2gm amoxicillin before procedures)  I want to know how long does it take for the socket to close and what is continued risk of infection.

Answer
Patrick,

The only way to NOT get food stuck in the socket is to remain on a soft diet until the wound closes.  Time that it takes to close varies among patients by age, healing ability, chewing on the socket, oral habits, etc.  Let's say you had your big toe removed.  How soon after the surgery do you think you would want to walk on that foot?  It would be bandaged and otherwise protected with a sock and a shoe.  But how soon?  How soon would you want to run?  How long before the pain and irritation went away?

Having a tooth out is similar.  But we don't bandage it except for the gauze you bite on for an hour.  We don't put a sock or shoe over it for added protection.  And we warn you to stay on a soft diet for a few days.  That's it.  Yet most patients can't understand why food falls in the hole, or why it still hurts after a week when they chew (equivalent to walking on the lost toe).  

I would return to your dentist to have the socket irrigated every week until the wound closes, so that food and particles are removed, giving the socket a better chance to heal.  Take the pain meds until you no longer need them, and the antibiotic as directed until all the pills are gone.  And don't worry.  The socket will heal with time.  I just can't tell you how much time.

I hope my examples help you through this experience, and that your recovery from here on is rapid.

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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO

Expertise

I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.

Experience

Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center (floridaimplantcenter.com). On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (nobhilldentalcenter.com), I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

Organizations
American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

Publications
"How To Save Money At The Dentist" Going to press soon.

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Awards and Honors
Membership in The Vedder Honors Society

Past/Present Clients
HIPAA rules do not allow me to post this information.

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